Two more businesswomen have chosen Wallingford as the place to make a step onto the high street, thanks to having a pop up shop programme there.
Patti Miskolczi and Miranda Blaas-Cousins have leased 29 High Street for a 6-week pop up, direct from the landlord, and have opened as ‘Home & living’, with a combination of hand-finished home decor, and a collection of individual pieces including Asian artefacts, Scandinavian modern accessories, wildlife drawings, oil paintings and jewellery.
Miranda says: “The pop-up shop is a great opportunity for us to interact with customers and receive feedback on the Harta offering and brand. It will help develop the business concept and determine whether we should sell primarily online or use retail spaces.” Patti says: “This venture allows me to appear on the High Street and introduce my brand to my target market without a significant financial risk. It also creates an opportunity to speak to my customers face to face, receive their feedback about the Patti M artefacts and decide about my future product range.”
The new 29 High Street pop up is the latest in a recent series in the town.
A pop up shop on the corner of St Mary’s Street and New Road, managed by town centre specialists Flashop UK Ltd for a Wallingford Town Council initiative supported by South Oxfordshire District Council, is currently home to two businesses. Karen Golding’s ‘All About The Wool’ is a mix of wool brands and knitted babywear retail, workshops and group get-togethers. Fellow retailer Joan Clare is making use of the section of the unit facing New Road to showcase her creative skills with a business called ‘Creative Keepsake, Cards & Gifts’. Karen says: “There is a great supportive team spirit throughout the town and, people are generous with their time and advice. I can honestly say that without this initiative, we would never have had the confidence to open this shop. So, a big thank you also goes to the town council and please, do keep supporting the Flashop opportunities.”
The project started in July 2015 with an earlier pop up shop series at 29 High Street. Its longest-standing occupiers – three local women who linked their businesses to form a joint venture – now have their own shop called Sew Very Vintage on St Mary’s Street. Fellow popupster, Karen Brumfitt, has established her Mrs B Designs Ltd range of products in the Feather and Nest shop on Wallingford High Street as well as a number of other shops in neighbouring towns. The town’s pop up theme was further continued by returning Wallingford record store, Music Box, as it popped up in a long-term empty unit on Castle Street, before re-opening in a unit of its own next to its former home on St Martins Street.
Wallingford Mayor, Ros Lester, says: “I was so pleased to see the red, white and blue shop being used once more, especially at this time of year when we need to see visitors and residents doing their Christmas shopping in Wallingford. I highly recommend a visit to our newest pop-up; they have great ideas especially for that person who has everything! I wish them well and hope that they like our town and choose to stay after their initial experience.”
Flashop UK Ltd directors Neil Wild and Iain Nicholson are working as part of the Wallingford Market Town Co-ordination role to support efforts to reduce the number of empty shops in the town centre and encourage new businesses in to further strengthen its independent core. Priority for the pop up shops is being given to businesses that add to the mix of independents in the town, and those that strengthen Wallingford’s reputation as a shopping destination.